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Figs. 27 and 28: horizontal lines of Wan Chai grids of the Bauhaus School of Design in http://www.euklides.no)

Market Dessau

emphasized by cantilevered sun-shading

(1926).

(Image

source:

(fig.

27)

Lee

fins

vs. rectangular

Ho

Yin; (fig. 28)

The Wan Chai Market (1937) (fig. 29), featuring a symmetrical elevation, rounded corners, curved wall surfaces and a strong emphasis of horizontality in the elevation by means of the cantilevering sun-shading fins, is unmistakably a classic Streamline Moderne design. A good comparative example of a Bauhaus design is the Bridges Street Market (1951) (fig. 30), which features an asymmetrically composed elevation, rectilinear wall corners and surfaces, and the “egg-crate” type of rectangular sun-shading framework on a large window area.

Figs. 29 and 30: Streamline Moderne-style Wan Chai Market (1937) vs. Bauhaus-style Bridges Street Market (1951). (Image source: (fig. 29) Lee Ho Yin; (fig. 30) Hong Kong Public Works Department Annual Report 1953-54)

Architectural Significance of the Wan Chai Market

In conservation, the architectural style of a heritage building is an important character-defining element associated with its architectural / aesthetic value. As such, correctly identifying the style of the Wan Chai Market allows a more accurate assessment of its architectural significance. As far as it is known, Wan Chai Market is one of the very few surviving examples of Streamline Moderne architecture in Hong Kong. More significantly, it is almost certain that it is the only Streamline Moderne market building in Hong Kong, and possibly in the whole of China as well. As a unique example of its kind in China, Wan Chai Market carries enormous architectural significance, and this should be considered in its evaluation for conservation.

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